It was a different MasterChef SA in episode 3 last night, with less action and more tears. There also was a lot at stake for the final 25 contestants, a braai deciding which seven contestants had to leave the reality TV cooking programme, with the final 18 going through to the MasterChef SA kitchen at Nederburg, for the remaining fifteen episodes.
For the first time one got to know the contestants a little better, but the editors of the show were not consistent in providing their names. It seemed that the chaps would have the advantage in this episode as the natural braaiers, but some of them did not make it through to the next round. Filmed at the Cradle of Humankind outside Johannesburg, the home of 2011 Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Roots, the challenge put to the contestants was to cook a meal worthy of being served at this fine-dining restaurant. Chef Pete Goffe-Wood said that the braai was the most basic form of cooking. The dishes were expected to jump out at the judges, to shout ‘eat me’. Chef Pete also said that the biggest challenge with a braai is to control the heat source.
Few of the dishes would have made it into Roots restaurant, if Twitterers were the judges! Worrying was that the judges had such a disparate evaluation of the dishes, there being little conformity of appreciation, in most cases only two of the three judges evaluating any dish. Chef Andrew Atkinson seemed over-dressed in his over-large suit for the braai, while Chefs Bennie Masekwameng and Pete looked more comfortable in their jackets.
Contestant Thys Hattingh admitted that he was not good at braais, and preferred making desserts. He made both a meat dish and a beautiful dessert, the latter highly praised by the judges, as was Khaya’s dessert. The judges tasted ‘pap and vleis’ made by Jade de Waal, fillet of springbok, Surf and Turf, seared tuna, lemon butter hake, stuffed sirloin, hake sandwich, rump steak, and more braai dishes.
Very few contestants escaped the programme without a harsh word from a judge, comments directed at Bonguwusa’s dish which was described as ‘not award-winning’, ‘tasted like cardboard’, was ‘overcooked’, and was‘inedible’, probably the harshest criticism of the evening. A piece of meat was described as a ‘brickette’. Another contestant cooking pap was criticised for the dish not working. Natalie was criticised for her dish being ‘too busy’, but she countered that it reflects her personality. She admitted that it was her first braai ever, loved by Chef Andrew and not liked at all by Chef Pete. Sarel Loot’s milk chocolate sauce served with his steak was described as ‘awful’ by Chef Andrew, and was criticised by Chef Bennie too, and could have cost him a place. One contestant presented part of her dish in ‘ghastly’ tin foil, a serious fail. Bruce’s steak was described as ‘too busy’, ‘not quite MasterChef’ standard. Bruce, Timothy, Elton, Cameron, Callie-Anne, Natalie, and Bonguwusa did not make the final hurdle.
The heat was really on and the tears started to roll when the 25 contestants had to face the judges in small groups, and were reminded of their problems of the evening, and to hear who would be leaving and who would go through to the MasterChef SA kitchen. The eighteen MasterChef SA finalists, with the Twitter addresses (most of them have started Tweeting) and city of residence from a Screen Africa listing, with 7 finalists from Cape Town and 5 from Johannesburg (with a surprise one from Namibia, given that is MasterChef SA) are as follows:
Babalwa Baartman @LateBloomer26 from Cape Town
Berdina Schurink @BerdinaSchurink from Pretoria
Brandon Law @TheBrandonLaw from Johannesburg
Charles Canning @CTHPipey from Cape Town
Deena Naidoo @Deenamcsa from Durban
Fortune Kangueehi @FKangueehi from Windhoek
Guy Clark @GuyClark2 from Cape Town
Ilse Fourie @IlseNel from Cape Town
Jade de Waal @FoodJams from Cape Town
Khaya Silingile @KhayaSilingile from Johannesburg
Lungile Nhlanhla @Lungzie from Durban
Lwazi Mngoma @LwaziMngoma from Johannesburg
Manisha Naidu @Manisha_Naidu from Johannesburg
Mmutsi Maseko from Johannesburg
Samantha Nolan @SamanthaLNolan from Cape Town
Sarel Loots @SarelvanSabie from Sabie
Sue-Ann Allen @Cook_Sista from Cape Town
Thys Hattingh @Thys_Hattingh from Rustenburg
Advertisers were largely the same as in the past episodes, including good-enough-to eat ads for MasterChef SA sponsor Woolworths’ steak and boerewors, sponsor Hyundai, Emirates, Outsurance, sponsor Robertson’s, Revlon, smeg, Frisco, Nedbank, KFC, VISA, Parmalat, Kenwood, and sponsor Nederburg.
In the next fifteen weeks the viewers will get to know the individual contestants better, and their personalities no doubt will come to the fore. One hopes that the pace picks up again, this episode having lacked the pace and energy of the two preceding episodes.
POSTSCRIPT 4/4: In following the MasterChef SA final 18 contestants on Twitter, one wishes someone would teach them to Tweet. Thys Hattingh is just providing links to the MasterChef SA website about each of his fellow contestants, and Sarel Loots is showing politics already by having blocked us, no doubt as sympathy support for Sonia Cabano, Robertson’s former Social Media Manager. Even more surprising is that Jade de Waal has locked her Twitter account recently, and one must request to follow her, which contradicts the reason for being on Twitter! Is this an ego getting too big? Is she the MasterChef SA? Or is it because she is related to Sonia Cabano (de Waal)?
POSTSCRIPT 4/4: The Month, a newspaper distributed in the Winelands and Cape Town, has compared MasterChef SA and Australia. Our programme, after one episode, does not receive favourable feedback in the article.
POSTSCRIPT 5/4: I have double-checked with Chef Pete Goffe-Wood about the road forward, not having watched any other MasterChef series before. One of the 18 finalists will be eliminated each week from now onwards. The eighteen finalists know who the winner is, but they have been sworn to secrecy!
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter:@WhaleCottage
Seriously!? How do you expect a 46 minute show to go through all 25 contestants’ tasting by all three the judges… We would never get through everyone… Common sense. They cant show all three judges taste all three dishes!
On the twitter side… Sue-Ann Allen is @Cook_Sista and Guy Clark is @guyclark2
I watched episode three last night, not because it is so good, but because it is so appallingly bad. In many ways it reminds me of Ed Woods’s movies which were so bad, you just had to watch them to see how bad they could actually get.
The judges are like cardboard cut outs, with inconsistent comments and wildly swinging demeanour – one minute dourly condemning, the next mawkish and misty eyed. The contestants are uniformly over-dramatic, with tears generally a heartbeat away.
I’m mystified. As to why so many people insist that the show has any merit. Okay, I can understand the sponsors plugging the show – it’s cost them a bundle and they want their payback. But for the rest of us it’s really okay to admit that it’s really awful.
I will suggest the following caveat: the director may well have to carry the burden of responsibility for the show. I doubt whether the judges could have come up with the really corny lines they drop every now and so often, nor could the contestants of their own accord have reacted so OTT and melodramatically at every opportunity.
Thanks Norman, and I agree about the judges’ inconsistency.
It will be interestimg to see how this all evolves, when they get comfortable at Nederburg.
Thank you for the missing Twitter addresses Kirk – much appreciated.
In the first two episodes we heard three judges’ opinions, and it explained why they kept or rejected contestants. Last night many who received criticism were kept, the judges having very divergent views about their food in most instances.
You have to read the article about Master Chef in this months “The Month Wine Lifestyle Mag” i picked up a copy at GLen Carlou and it made me laugh, it sums up my thoughts about this SA version of what is a superb idea and executed very well by the Australian version.
The Ed writing this article uses comments such as
” is it just me or is the much anticipated MC SA a load of tripe”
“scenes of inept judges trying very hard to be intimidating and contestants doing their best to outdo their american counterparts shedding enough tears to extinguish a cape winelands fynbos fire”
” PGW demeanour an uncomfortable combination of gordon ramsey and idols simon cowell, Benny comes across as an indulgent father who when he has to extend a reprimand does so with significant discomfort” and the best was kept for andrew atkinson
” andrew atkinson is the masterchefs very own spud, with the same degree of social ineptitude and bumbling desire for acceptance at all costs”
Chris, you need to try and get an epsiode of master chef australia series and compare but in the meantime get your hands on this article, its a blas
Agree with Darren, Chris, even try and catch the Brit Masterchef Celeb version (who started it all) curently finishing off (an umpteenth repeat) on DSTV’s channel 180 so that you can compare.
Last night’s episode of MCSA had me nodding off every few minutes. Apart from the hype, the bad acting, bad props and set decor, awful judges outfits and almost bad everything, the pace was incredible slow, tired, yawn. My prevailing thought throughout the episode was, had I been on set, I would have tried to find a bag of cement and a rope and headed for that dam down the dirt track …
So far it ain’t looking good, but for the sake of the sponsors and their consumers who inevitably finance poor marketing investments, I hope the show picks up speed and along the way many, many more viewers. Right now the ARs (Audience Ratings) are not exactly rising like a well-yeasted hot cross bun. I know, as I get the weekly ARs of all channels.
As we used to say in film days, ‘Cut and print,” Chris. And happy Easter to you and your readers.
Many thanks Anne, and thanks for sharing a TV producer’s take on MasterChef SA.
It certainly was the poorest episode of the three to date. I would love to see that AR information, if you feel like sharing.
I look forward to meeting you on a next visit to Cape Town.
Happy Easter to you too.
Chris, Norman and Darren
Thanks for the mention of The Month, Chris and Darren.
To those unfamiliar with The Month, I choose the White Wine Ou piece each month to reflect a particular (justifiable) view of something relevant to those of us who enjoy the Winelands and the lifestyle it affords us. A cooking show set on a Winelands wine farm was a no-brainer. Having said that, carrying quite so much negative criticism was somewhat out of keeping with our “generally positive” approach at The Month, but I felt (and having watched all three episode to date, still feel) that the article makes for ‘justifiable’ food for thought.
Darren, those words aren’t mine – the Wine Ou is a contributor. When the piece came across my desk I’ll admit, however, that the thoughts expressed struck a chord; especially the closing paragraph. I hope that by episode 18 I too will be a fan and that the various ingredients that make up each episode will gel. Goodness knows we have talented amateur cooks/chefs, that the judges have earned their stripes and that the sponsors deserve some return on their investment.
Norman, you’ll probably enjoy the Wine Ou’s piece (see it here if you can’t get the dead-tree version; http://bit.ly/HTHqi2), and I think you’ve probably got a decent point there. I’d love to have comment from the producer(s) and or editor(s). I watched a recent episode of Survivor in which they showed previously “unseen” footage and it made for some useful insight and perspective on some of the goings-on in earlier episodes.
As the Wine Ou says “‘Reality TV’… doesn’t in any way remotely reflect reality” – but that’s not to say that what happens on the show doesn’t really happen. It’s just that showing things the way they are in 46 minutes may not be as easy or exciting as the version the producer/editor settles on.
I’m looking forward to episode 4, for whatever reason, and will head off to Woolies to stock up on a little wine and snacks in anticipation – so sweet or sour, I guess they have me for the next 14 weeks!
Thanks for your contribution Brett, and well done for publishing the article.